By Airman 1st Class Kevin Sommer Giron
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The 714th Training Squadron International Military Student Office was recognized as the 2016 U.S. Air Force IMSO Team of the Year in the small activities category for their service to more than 100 international students.
“This is the first time the office has won an award like this,” said Master Sgt. Larry Holland, 714th Training Squadron IMSO NCOIC. “It goes to show that we might be a small office but we have a gigantic footprint.”
As leaders of the largest international training program, the 714th TRS IMSO plays a vital role in the 314th Airlift Wing’s Center of Excellence, a C-130 training school, where students learn career-specific fundamentals of Combat Airlift.
While international students learn technical skills at the school house, the IMSO is tasked with easing the transition from their respective countries to the United States.
Holland, along with Maj. Jonathon Ferricher and Master Sgt. Stephanie Erskine, facilitated everything from the student’s transportation and documents to their morale and understanding of the American culture.
“We are the first and last people they see at the airport,” Holland said. “We have a really big impact on how they feel about Americans as a whole and that is ultimately our big picture: to make them feel comfortable with being in America, so they can enjoy their experience.”
Winners of the IMSO Team of the Year award show exceptional job performance and support to international students by effectively managing any issues the students and their dependents face.
They also take initiative in implementing the field studies program. A program designed to immerse students into American culture through events and outings on base and in the local area.
The office of three may be small, but their support reaches hundreds of students from all around the globe annually, helping strengthen partnerships with more than 47 allied nations.
“The IMSO award let us know that we were successful in trying to make the students feel at home,” Erskine said. “Partnerships are what makes us a cohesive unit at home and in contingency operations.”